“There’s gotta be something after.” – Carl Grimes, The Walking Dead
In his last letter to his father, Carl Grimes pleads with Rick to leave an opportunity for the Saviors and Negan to surrender. A space that, if not common ground, is enough neutral ground to allow co-existence.
“You have to give them a way out. You have to find peace with Negan. Find a way forward somehow. We don’t have to forget what happened, but you can make it so that it won’t happen again. That nobody has to live this way. That every life is worth something. Start everything over. “
As I think back over the past two years, I think the most important and missed change is the phrase “both sides.”
Everything seems to be coming down to two views. Everything. Left/Right. Conservative/Liberal. Nazi/Snowflake. Black/White. Marvel/DC.
To seek a place in between this imagined exclusivity of dichotomy, trying to stand in the center is attacked by the extremists on both ends as capitulation. To allow for a middle ground is to collaborate with their enemy. Whomever that might be.
I see friends say without qualification that the US is more divided than ever. Which is, of course, nonsense. The Civil War aside, the 1960s was far more polarized than today. Violence is the exception today, not the status quo.
But even it if was, the only way through those times was to detente. Mutual respect. Agree to disagree. Because the other option is perpetual war, both cultural and literal.
It isn’t capitulation and it isn’t collaboration. It is about building the next thing.
Trump will leave office in 2 years (more likely 6). Brexit will resolve. A conservative government will replace a liberal and then be replaced by a socialist and then by a conservative.
The wheel will turn.
This too shall pass.
And there’s gotta be something after.